It was the last race for the day at the Singapore Turf Club. Adrenaline was pumping as it was going to be to a photo finish. Three horses were leading the pack just 50 metres away from the finishing line. My camera was aimed at the frontrunner.
In the background, a breakaway from the monotonous galloping of the horses caught my attention. What I saw made me trigger my camera’s shutter at full speed.
A jockey who was behind the leading horse flew into the air. It seemed like his horse had lost its footing. Just as this rider in light green vest hit the ground, another rider behind him was thrown sideways. This rider in orange and blue striped jersey had also fallen as he tried to avoid his horse from running over the first jockey.
It all happened in a few seconds. As soon as the race was over, the medical staff immediately rushed to the fallen jockey and horse.
The horse that had fallen then got up to its feet, but it was having trouble walking. I then realised that the horse had broken its left front leg. The part of the leg just above the hoof, known as the fetlock joint, was dangling from the rest of the leg. The bone can be seen clearly. The images are too graphic even to be published here. It wasn't the same case for its jockey who was just lying motionless on the turf.
The second rider who fell got up and managed to walk away. His horse continued to gallop to the finish line.
As I turn to look at the stands, I saw the downed horse's trainer rushing forward with a worried look. It might be the end of his horse's “race days”.
The crowd got tense and waited in anticipation as to what was going to happen to the injured horse and its motionless jockey. The jockey was soon put on a stretcher and carried into a waiting ambulance. A carriage then pulled up onto the turf. The blinds were drawn and the injured horse slowly limped into it.
It was my first time witnessing a racehorse falling during a race. But what touched me the most was when the winning jockey in that race ran towards his fallen comrade to check if he was alright.